Assistant Trainer: Grace Mitchell


Grace started her dog training career in Reston, Virginia. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at Michigan State University, she began working under a local trainer learning to teach dog obedience and agility. Grace also became a therapy dog handler through Pet Partners and began working with Heeling House; a nonprofit that helps children with special needs through animal assisted interaction.  

She then became certified trainer, CPDT-KA, and moved to CA to continue her career. Grace began an apprenticeship with Canine Companions for Independence for the next two years learning all aspects of assistance dog training and task work for a variety of disabilities. She then moved into a management position with Dogs For Better Lives in Oregon directing their dog acquisition program. 

Grace joined Love in the Lead in December 2020 and will be assisting with the Service Dog Program, Puppy Program and our non-profit Healing Canines, Inc. 

With her family still on the east coast, Grace moved back to the Charlotte area with her two dogs Duncan and Nova. She enjoys exploring the area on the weekends and movie marathons.

Rebecca Golian

Owner & Head Trainer


  • B.A. Degree in Psychology

  • 15+ years dog training experience

  • Qualified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor

  • Professional Service Dog Trainer

  • Canine Behavior Specialist

  • Member of the IACP

  • Pet CPR/First Aid Certified

  • Licensed, certified, and insured


Rebecca grew up in Frederick County, Maryland and found her passion for working with animals at a young age. At the age of five, Rebecca began riding horses and joined the United States Pony Clubs (USPC). Rebecca trained and competed horses, taught private lessons and conducted clinics throughout high school. Rebecca also grew up working with dogs and volunteered at local rescues and shelters.

During college, Rebecca continued to compete in the equestrian sport of Three-Day Eventing, working under some of the best trainers and equestrian athletes in the world. She started her own equestrian business in 2009, offering training, competition, sport horse sales and private riding instruction in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Rebecca started professionally training dogs in college. While attending the University of Maryland, Rebecca offered private in-home training, group obedience classes, puppy development classes and board & train programs for dogs with severe behavioral problems in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Rebecca also raised and trained German Shepherds for The Seeing Eye, a Guide Dog school based in Morristown, NJ.

In 2013, Rebecca decided to pursue working with dogs full time and moved to New York City to start a professional dog training and behavior modification business. Rebecca offered advanced on and off-leash obedience training, puppy training, service/therapy dog training and certification and behavior modification for dogs with severe behavioral problems.

In 2015 Rebecca was offered a rare opportunity to enter a three year apprenticeship program to become a Qualified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) at Guide Dogs for the Blind. A GDMI trains guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired, matches trained guide dogs with clients, conducts client training and offers follow up services for guide dog users throughout the United States and Canada.


In 2019 Rebecca decided to move back to the east coast to be closer to friends and family. She moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and started Love in the Lead Canine Training, LLC. In 2020 she founded Healing Canines, Inc. which is a local non-profit that trains and places service dogs for residents of North and South Carolina. 

Outside of running her business, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her personal dog Benji, spending time with her family and friends and participating in outdoor activities.


Situated on almost 4 acres, our home facility offers a peaceful, safe training environment. One of the unique aspects of our program is the type of environment that we provide the dogs during their training. Instead of a noisy and stressful kennel environment, the dogs stay in a quiet, tranquil home environment.


The dogs are housed in a large section of the home, equipped with large wire crates, crate pads, and individual water pails. The area is temperature controlled, with air filtration, and is cleaned daily. We play relaxing music, and create a calm and welcoming environment.

Due to our home training environment, we are able to simulate more “real world” training scenarios. All the things that your dog would experience in your home, we simulate in our home facility. 


We utilize the entire property for training; we have over a half acre of fenced in grass areas which we utilize for play time as well. The dogs receive individual and group training sessions throughout the day, and plenty of off-leash play time!